Three Ways to Keep Your Project On-Track

August 26, 2011 by  Filed under: Management 

There is a great need to have the right people involved on your project from Day 1. Below is an example of why this is so critical.

The project consisted of an Enterprise deployment of an existing application. This application was already in Production and the project was just an update of some of the features. Product Management and Development Engineers had a pretty good sense of what this application looked like and they moved forward to development. They worked on it for a couple of months and when it came to implementation, a fellow named Eddie stopped it dead in its tracks!

Eddie was the end-user. Eddie was the Subject Matter Expert. Eddie had a direct line to upper management! Eddie said the application missed the mark. It didn’t meet the requirements and couldn’t support the reality of the business. Unfortunately, Eddie was not involved in the project from day one.

The “miss” wasn’t a big one, but it opened suspicion about what else could be wrong with the application. This caused delay in the implementation for months with microscopic scrutiny every stop along the way. Upper management gave what Eddie said much weight because he was on the front line in working with the application.

Could this have been prevented? The following three suggestions may have helped:

  1. Make sure Eddie is involved from Day 1: Request his input and have conversations with him. Share your plans with Eddie, whether it’s Product Management, Engineering, or Project Management. Make sure that he is aware of what is going on as it relates to impact on his business.
  2. Don’t assume Engineers or Developers have all the answers: Team members who are working on the application behind their desk have a very different view of the world from Eddie. In this particular instance, the desk that Eddie is standing behind has a customer standing in front of it! Don’t make any assumptions that ‘you know best’.
  3. Maintain YOUR relationships with upper management: You can preempt or prevent unnecessary scrutiny if you have the facts and a clear channel to upper management. This will help you provide an objective, balanced viewpoint to Eddie’s concerns so the application can continue to move forward.

The above three things are ways you can prevent Eddie from derailing your project. Not including the right people is something that is so easy to overlook. But, unless you have the right people involved from day one you may find that your project will get in trouble quickly.

Jennifer Whitt, PMP, CPC, President
Jennifer Whitt is a speaker, trainer, Certified Performance Coach, author, and company president of She is a PMI-certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and knows how difficult it can be to make time for classroom or online learning so she has developed a new way for Project Managers to Earn n’ Learn while on the go. For more information, please visit

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